Category Archives: self

20 for 2020: week 37

Week of 7 September 2020

My 20 for 2020 list. 20200910 Mr Ogilvie masked up

Mr Ogilvie’s Covid outfit

What did I want to do better this week?
Following the training course I went on last week, I wanted to use some of the things I learned to streamline my weekly and daily planning and review processes.

So, how did that go then?
I find making myself sit down and do a weekly review really forced and I struggle with getting distracted and trying to do things that I identify during the process instead of adding them to the to-do list and focusing on just doing the review. This ends up making it take ages and is probably one of the reasons why I don’t like doing it. So I guess the goal is to be more disciplined, to know what I have to do and to do only that in the time I’ve set aside to do it.

On to 20 for 2020
On Monday afternoon, I got my mark for my assignment (thing 8) that I had submitted on Sunday. I am impressed with that for speedy turnaround. I wasn’t completely happy with the mark but the facilitator told me I had put too much in (who would have thought I could ever do that?!) and that what was supposed to be a proposal was starting to look like the beginning of the project.

Hmmmm.

On the positive side, it means I’ve done some of the work for the final report that I now don’t need to do again. 20200912 Paul Kelly book

I finished reading this book this week.

What did I achieve this week? 
I’m still keeping up to date with my weekly photo journal and my street corners project.

20200910 Harrington & Macquarie St 742am

Harrington Street Thursday morning

One of the ideas that I got from the training course I did a couple of weeks ago was making time to just think. Actually scheduling time to sit and think, and being comfortable with not doing anything, especially not checking your phone. It relates a bit to the Bored and Brilliant challenge (thing 12) that I started last year (and still haven’t finished).

The presenters suggested to find something you already do and add “thinking” in to that as a way of starting. So it could be exercising without music, or going to the coffee shop without your phone. I decided to make my morning walks tech-free as a way of starting this exercise. I reset my “morning walk” habit in my habit tracker to zero. I mean, tracking a habit that I have done every day for the past (I’ve forgotten how many) years and that I don’t skip on is a bit meaningless now. So the incentive to get back to 100 per cent will be a lot stronger now that it says zero, and having to go out without the phone will make me be more mindful about checking off the habit.

What didn’t go so well?
This packing up at 10.00 thing I want to do. I’m finding that now, because I’m working on my project most nights and doing what I used to do, which is turn off the computer, get ready for bed, read in bed and fall asleep, isn’t working for me now. Because I’m focusing on the project until the time I turn the computer off, I’m not giving my mind time to wind down so I’m finding it harder to fall asleep. Previously, when I was working on photos or journalling last thing before I turned the computer off, the part of my mind that wants to stay awake wasn’t being stimulated as much and I could quite easily fall asleep. So I think what I need to do is to set a time to stop work on the project and, even if I have the computer on, I need to be doing things that use a different part of my brain that help it wind down rather than keep it alert and focusing on the project.

That’s the theory anyway.

What do I want to do better next week?
What I just said!

20200911 Leaf on the ground 1A traffic light leaf

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 12 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 1 (8)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (7, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 4 (9, 12, 19, 21)
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I was in bed by 10.30 (Goal = 7): 5

20 for 2020: week 33

Week of 10 August

My 20 for 2020 list.

What did I want to do better this week?
Start packing up at 10.15.
Schedule 15 minutes of creative time every day and do it.

So how did that go then?
That did not go well. By the weekend I had I only gone to bed on time on Monday. One night I didn’t get to bed until 11.30. I didn’t sleep well that night and I woke up at some stupid time in the morning beginning with a 4. Not surprisingly, my sleep score has been down this week too.

I’m also struggling with the 15 minutes of creative time. I had it scheduled for 5pm, which is probably a completely unsuitable time so I need to rethink this one. The days I have stuck to it, it hasn’t been at 5pm and I’ve worked for a lot longer than 15 minutes because I was enjoying it. I’ve probably done the whole week’s 15 minutes in one or two days. Much as I appreciate the idea of doing 15 minutes every day, I’m not making it work, so I need to review that one as well.

On to 20 for 2020
I got a phone call from the sewing machine guy on Monday afternoon (thing 2). He said he was leaving his last job and asked if now was a good time for me. It was fine. I was home and I’d finished work, so I told him to come over. Because it was so unexpected, I started freaking out that someone was coming to my house in 20 minutes. Frantic moving things off the sewing machine cabinet for him to be able to access it. Wondering why I have never put my graduate diploma on the wall and just left it propped up against the cabinet since I’ve been in this house. (Thinking that, all going well, in three months time I will have a newer one to put next to it.)

People who haven’t known me long are surprised when they find out I have a sewing machine. I guess I don’t talk about it now that I don’t actually use it. In the past, my one sewing job a year was a Book Week costume for Kramstable but I stopped doing that around grade 5 when he started to put his own costumes together. Long-time readers might remember that these were long, drawn-out affairs, where my vision and enthusiasm were unmatched by my skill, but somehow I managed to pull off some pretty good costumes. I’m not sure if I was more proud of the cat outfit (for the Cat in the Hat) or of the Dame Washalot outfit that I designed the pattern for myself based on illustrations in the Faraway Tree, having absolutely no clue what I was doing.

And I don’t think I’m creative. Pffft. Begone, doubters.

The sewing machine guy arrived. After giving him a vague description of the problem (“It doesn’t work”) I left him to it.

(It is a slightly more specific problem than that, for which I had initially sought advice from sewing friends and the internet, because I thought maybe it was a setting I’d mucked up somewhere and that I just needed to move a few dials and everything would be back to normal. Clearly, given I had to call in an expert, this was not the case, though I still had doubts about my ability to use the machine properly and set it up to work.)

He spent a bit of time doing fidgety-looking stuff to it and pulling bits off. This involved a highly vile smelling oil that I feel is going to linger in my room for the next week and him holding various bits and pieces up to the light. I heard him say a few things like, “oh, that shouldn’t happen”  and, if nothing else, I was relieved that there actually was something wrong with the machine and it wasn’t just me not knowing what lever to move.

The verdict, after all that, was that it was a workshop job, not something he could fix at my house. He would have to pull it apart and it would cost at least $150, more if any parts were needed. I don’t know how much the machine was worth as I got it as a gift, but his advice was that I’d be throwing good money after bad if I tried to get it fixed and that for not much more than the repair cost I could buy a new machine that would be more suitable for what I use it for. It wouldn’t have all the features of this one, but given that I never used them anyway, this wouldn’t be a problem.  From what I understand, this is a lower-priced machine trying to cram in features of a higher-priced machine and not succeeding very well. Apparently, this brand performs very well at the high end of the market with machines that do fancy stitching and embroidery but that this doesn’t translate to the lower end of the market, which is where I am firmly planted.

So there you have it. After two years and two lists, I have still not got my sewing machine fixed but at least now I know it isn’t worth fixing and can decide where to go from here.

I also had to borrow some money from Kramstable to pay for the service call because he’s the only person in the house who has any cash. How awkward is that!

20200811 Sandy Bay Rd & Queen St 356pm

Sandy Bay Tuesday afternoon. From Hobart Street Corners.

The only other thing I worked on this week was my uni work (thing 8), which is going to have to be my focus for the next nine weeks. This mostly involved a very long, agonising process in which I made a decision about the workplace project I want to work on for this unit. I had to submit a draft 500-word project proposal on Sunday so that the unit facilitator could give feedback and direction to make sure it’s on the right track and is gong to be manageable in the time I have to do it. (Did I mention that it’s only nine weeks? No pressure.)

500 words.

Hahahahahahaha.

I spoke to the facilitator on Friday about it because I wasn’t sure if what I wanted to do was appropriate, especially since it’s not a project that is directly relevant to my workplace. She said it absolutely was, so all I had to do was get an official tick from the relevant person at work and submit the proposal. As of Friday afternoon, I hadn’t been able to make contact with the manager I needed the okay from and I had a 1500-word proposal. This left me with the weekend to think of all sorts of reasons why work wouldn’t support me and to cut 1000 words out of the document.

One of these things I had control over and one I didn’t. I decided to focus my attention on the one that I did have control over, hard it was to try and put the doubts aside. What reassured me was that other people I had spoken to, including people in the area that the work most directly related to, were positive about the idea and thought it would be valuable work.

And if worst came to absolute worst, the facilitator said that if I don’t get my work’s support to do this work, it will be possible to throw the whole thing out and start again with something else.

I hope it doesn’t come to that!

And I submitted the proposal, without having any authority to do it, but minus 1000 words, on Saturday afternoon. A whole day early.

Now, I wait.

What did I do well or what did I achieve? (Did I do what I said I wanted to do better?)
My biggest achievement this week was to make the decision on the project I wanted to do. This might not sound like much, but making that decision was actually a huge thing for me.

What didn’t go so well?
I think we know that already.

What do I want to do better next week?
Go to bed on time.
Plan my days and stick to the plan. This will be really important over the next two months as I complete my uni work.
Abandon the idea of 15 minutes of creative time every day and find two time blocks within the week when I can work on my creative projects.

20200816 The Sea Priestess

This week’s reading. This had been on my bookshelf unread for at least 15 years.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 11 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (2, 8)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (7, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 4 (9, 12, 19, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 2
  • Days I read a book: 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches: 0
  • Days I was in bed by 10.30: 3

20 for 2020: week 28

Week of 6 July

My 20 for 2020 list.

I had been looking forward to this week for a long time. After the chaos of last week at work and spending the entire weekend working on my uni assignment (thing 8) that I had handed in with the mantra “it doesn’t have to be perfect; you just need to pass” playing off against “you should have put more work into this” in my head, I was ready for a break.

If I hadn’t had a holiday booked, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if ”should-me” had requested an extension on Friday to give me more time to finesse the assignment. Thankfully, I did have plans and what I handed in on Sunday was it. I’m glad, because it forced me to submit something that I think is good enough but is by no means up to the standard I expect.

Ha! Take that, “should-me”.

This week’s destination was Bridport, a small town on the north coast of Tasmania. I believe I went there once when I was a baby, and there is some family folklore story about me having been kidnapped by “Uncle Charlie”, who I think was my grandmother’s aunt’s husband. The actual truth is far less dramatic. From what I understand, Uncle Charlie simply decided to take the baby (me) out for a walk and didn’t bother to tell anyone, and they all went into a bit of a panic when no one could find us. I must have been returned safe and sound because I’m still here.

20200706 Clouds near Barnbougle 2

Chasing clouds in the middle of nowhere

I have no memories of the place, so it was all new to me and I was happy to not have any particular plans in mind other than wanting to visit Mt William National Park, on the north-eastern tip of the state, and take lots of photos. I certainly did that.

20200706 Old Pier Bridport 37

I got a bit obsessed with the old pier

It was great to get away. I let myself sleep in and I missed my morning walks and mindfulness sessions (goodbye, 100-day streak). I didn’t do any reading and I didn’t do my daily yoga stretches. I made sure I got right back into all of that when I got home though. I’ve put too much work into these habits to let them go after a couple of days off.

I also made up for skipping my daily 15 minutes of creating the past few weeks on Saturday, when I sat down for four or five hours and edited a bunch of photos from the trip.

20200707 Eddystone Point Lighthouse 27

Obligatory lighthouse photo (larapuna/Eddystone Point)

As for my 20 for 2020 things, I didn’t do much at all.

Uni doesn’t start again until next month so that’s on hold for a couple of weeks.

I had a look at what I wrote in my monthly review (thing 22) last week and pulled out the main things I said I wanted to work on in July.  One of those is to figure out how to take the focus that I know I have when something is important enough and time critical (aka my assignment) and apply that to things that are still important but perhaps there isn’t as much riding on.

I think I need to revisit Indistractable (thing 13).

20200711 Journalling at the ccoffee shop

Catching up on the week at the local coffee shop

I used my graphics tablet for some of my editing (thing 17). Well, I used it for five minutes until Photoshop crashed. Does that count as progress? Yes, yes it does.

I took the photos that were the reason for setting up the home studio (thing 11) but I didn’t do any more to work out how to set that up, so I won’t count that.

Overall, it was a nice relaxing week, and I really needed the break. Back to work next week while Kramstable has another week of holidays. Lucky him!

20200708 Platypus Park river walk 07—marshes

I felt a bit Famous Five traipsing about in the marshes

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 10 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (17, 22)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 4 (7, 8, 11, 13)
  • Things not started: 6  (2, 9, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 3
  • Days I read a book: 4
  • Days I did yoga stretches: 3
  • Days I was in bed by 10.30: 3

20 for 2020: week 21

Week 21: Week of 18 May
My 20 for 2020 list.

After I handed my uni assignment in last Sunday (thing 8) I felt completely drained and flat and certainly not inspired to start thinking about the rest of the work and the next assignment, which I think is due at the start of July. I hoped I’d feel a bit better about it later in the week and got the readings for the rest of the unit together so they’d be ready to work on.

As it turned out, my week was pretty disrupted with three medical appointments, including one on Friday that left me needing to take the rest of the day off work, so I really didn’t settle myself down to refocus on this work until the weekend and even then I only managed to get through one reading.

The good news from my GP earlier in the week though was that the lumps and scrapes on my hand are not, as I’d imagined, the result of some creepy crawly living under my bed that comes out at night to bite me when I’m sleeping, but a specific sort of hand eczema that can be caused by excessive hand washing, soap, the cold, stress . . . whatever normally causes me to get an eczema flare up. I’m relieved that it isn’t a mysterious nocturnal predator slowly poisoning my body bite by bite, but also secretly disappointed, because that would be a kind of cool story to go into my isolation journal.

20200519 Concoction of potions 2 edit

Begone, itchy hands!

On the days I go out, I’ve been taking photos of things that show how the world has changed in the last couple of months. I think it will be interesting to look back on this in the future.

I’ve been trying to develop a more useful and regular mindfulness meditation practice, which I have been doing recently through a combination of different apps following a study I participated in last year through the Menzies Centre on mindfulness at work. About two months ago, I went back to the Insight Timer app, which I used to use every day and had built up a streak of over 500 days before I forgot one day and completely lost the habit. I was very disappointed in myself that one missed session was enough to kill a habit of almost two years. I have always struggled with the idea of focusing on my breath and, whenever I get distracted by a thought, bringing my focus back gently to my breath. So my daily three minutes “mindfulness” was mainly me struggling not to think. This week I started a new program that I’m using in conjunction with Insight Timer, which involves two 30-minute sessions every day. It’s a huge step up from slotting three minutes in sometime during the day when I think of it, and it’s not easy. It is frustrating and there are times I hate it.

The reasons for me doing this are long and varied and I don’t want to go too much into them, other than to say that developing a mindfulness practice is one element of my personal development plan that I completed in the second unit of my uni course and I hope that it will support me in dealing with some of the other things I identified in the plan. None of this is supported through the uni program. What I do with the personal development plan is entirely up to me, but I feel like now I’ve made the effort to put it together, I need to actually make it happen.

It’s too early to tell if the mindfulness program is going to benefit me and but I know that I need to commit to it and do it for several weeks to see any real effects.

So there’s that.

As well as doing my mindfulness practice in the mornings, I’ve been continuing to use the time after my morning walk to work through the Photoshop course (thing 7). It’s really exciting stuff and I need to actually break out of my bubble and start to do some of the things I’m learning.

I’m three lessons in to the second module and realised there is a lot of material I’ve been sitting there nodding at but not taking the time to sit down and practice. There almost seems to be a point right now in the course that is a really good time to actually do that before moving on. It’s almost like the instructor knows I haven’t been doing the work and wrapped up the video I watched on Saturday with a pretty clear instruction to stop consuming the content and start creating. (And if he didn’t, that is my brain putting that interpretation on it because it knows it’s time to do some work.)

20200523 Shattered dreams and broken 3 edit IG

Trampled dreams

I have this idea in my head that I need to get through the videos as fast as possible to finish the course and then go back and do the work later. But, of course, this isn’t like that. The videos build on the previous work, so if you haven’t done that, you’re going to get very lost and confused.

I do not need to finish watching the videos in any set time. There is no time limit, only the one my completionist brain insists on. But there’s no benefit in doing it this way. I need to work through the material and actually do it as I go and when I start to understand it, then I can move on to the next video. There’s no prize for getting through them all in record time. There’s no prize at all. And there definitely won’t be a prize for watching all the videos but not actually being able to use any of the techniques. I need to do the work. Now.

One thing I have learned from doing my uni course is that I actually do have time to sit down and do the work I want to do. I can organise my days to do this. Not having time is an excuse that really means I’m not prioritising things. I already knew this, by the way, but I have seen for a fact that I can sit down and focus on something. I also learned a bit more about procrastination this week and that ties in well with the Indistractable work (thing 13) that I still haven’t gone back to and finished . . .

I used my graphics tablet (thing 17) for all of 30 seconds this week before Photoshop crashed and I didn’t go back to it. 30 seconds is still progress, right?

And finally, following my raven reading theme, this week I read the book The Ravenmaster’s Boy by Mary Hoffman, a young adult historical fiction piece centred around the last days of Anne Boleyn.20200524 The Ravenmaster's Boy

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 8 (1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 1 (7, 8, 14, 17)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  (3, 11, 13, 22)
  • Things not started: 6  (2, 9, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit this week: 7
  • Days I read a book: 7

 

20 for 2020: week 19

My 20 for 2020 list.

Week of 4 May

This was week 2 of the third unit of my uni course (thing 8). Our lecturer said this means we are more than half way through, unless you are counting assignments, in which case we’ll be half way through when we submit the one we’re working on now. It will be number five out of nine. The assignment is due on Sunday and I am quietly freaking out about it.

20200507 Boats at Sandy Bay 2

Quick stop on the way home from the physio

I really can’t relate my work to the material in the course and I had to contact the lecturer to clarify what I have to do in this assignment. I’m a little clearer now after chatting with her and sitting in on the online workshop on Wednesday night but I still have a long way to go and less than a week to get there. This is the least prepared I have been for any of my assignments. Normally I’d have a fairly robust (and very long) first draft by now and I’d be giving myself a week and a half to refine it and make it fit the the word limit. Right now, all I have is a vague outline and a few references, and it’s making me very edgy and unsettled. I really need some very large blocks of uninterrupted time to focus and I don’t seem to be able to carve them out. My plan to spend all of Sunday on it got upended, and the closer the deadline gets, the more I’m doing to avoid the work. But feeling overwhelmed isn’t helping and I need to sit down and just do it. Just focus on one step at a time but I can’t even work out what the first step needs to be. This is the most frustrating part of the course for me so far and it’s not pretty.

Since I did the 21-day creativity kickstart program (thing 6), I’m dedicating the small pocket of time that I have after my morning walk to my creative work, because I need to do something creative to stay sane. I’ve started using the time to watch the Photoshop course videos (thing 7B) and I am really excited about this work. It’s what I really want to be doing right now, which makes it all the harder to do the uni work. Right now, I’m questioning why I even signed up for that. I think I’m in way over my head and I don’t know how I’m going to get the work done.

For the assignment, they recommend drawing a “rich picture” to demonstrate the relationship you are analysing. I thought this would be a good opportunity to practise using my graphics tablet (thing 17). In hindsight, this was a bad idea because I have no idea how to draw stuff and I made a complete mess and nothing worked and I went back to pen and paper (after a mammoth effort on the whiteboard). I’ll chalk that up as a learning experience and leave the tablet for something that isn’t time pressured.

One of the tasks for the wellbeing work (thing 3) is to keep a track of everything you do for a couple of days. I did that a while back for Indistractable (thing 13) but I figured things have changed a bit since then so it might be worth doing this again with my new  schedule and seeing where the windows of wasted time are popping up. I can probably guess. Any time I try to sit down and do my uni work would be the main one! I’ll try and track my time for a few days over the next week to see if this is correct. I did some more journalling work for that class as well.

I’m happy with my continuing reading habit (thing 14). This week I finished Rob Lowe’s second book, Love Life. Rob was one of my first teen idols (after the cricket players and footballers I used to adorn my bedroom walls with) and I have found both of his books (I read Stories I Only Tell My Friends several years ago) interesting and insightful.  According to my trusty habit tracker I have done some reading every day since 8 March. It means I am slowly working my way through my unread books piles. (Yes, piles.)

20200506 Love Life

Love Life

Now, enough complaining. Back to the assignment.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 8 (1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (3, 7, 8, 14, 17)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (11, 13, 22)
  • Things not started: 6  (2, 9, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 7
  • Days I read a book: 7

20 for 2020: week 18

My 20 for 2020 list.

20200501 Hinsby Beach 6

Afternoon walk

I signed up for a new Photoshop course during the week. It’s by one of the instructors of the other course I’m doing (thing 7) and when I got the email advertising the course at a massive discount I thought for ages about whether I should sign up for another course when I hadn’t made much progress with the one I was already doing (and not making much progress on). But the special deal and super discounted price were sweet and I am a sucker for signing up to pushy emails that try to sell me courses, so here I am.

I did do a bit of research and I asked them about whether there would be much overlap between this course and the one I’m already doing. There isn’t, and their answer is what really convinced me to do it, which is that this is more of a Photoshop course and it covers a lot of the basic elements of the app that I don’t know much about and have been using with only a vague idea of what I’m doing and get frustrated when they don’t work properly. I think this course will give me more of what I need right now and it will give me some of the foundations I need to do the course I was originally planning on doing, which covers some elements of photography as well as Photoshop. I’ve started work on the first module and have learned (and applied) a lot already. One of the first lessons was about setting up a graphics tablet and I learned a couple of new things about my tablet (thing 17), which was a bonus.

20200430 Lavender on my walk 4

Collecting ideas on my walk

As a result of starting this course, I decided to change my 20 for 2020 list slightly and make this new course thing 7 on my list. Of course, there’s no reason why I can’t complete both of them this year, and that would be brilliant. But looking at the uni work (thing 8) for the next two and a bit months, and then the final unit after that, I can’t see me having a lot of time to devote to these courses until the middle of October when uni finishes. So I am just aiming to get one course done, or as much of it as I can, this year. I think this will require some better time management and scheduling than I currently have, and I will need to go back and finish the Indistractable work (thing 13) so that I can become more focused.

Unit 3 of my uni course officially started on Monday and the first assignment is due in two weeks. No pressure! After a full-on unit last time and with all the odd things going on at the moment, I’m finding it really hard to muster any enthusiasm for it at all. I’ve been enjoying the extra free time to work on my creative projects and I feel like I’m making progress there. So I need to get my head around this. It does seem like it will be relevant to my work and will have things we can apply at work throughout the unit but the thought of starting a new unit, with new materials and a big reading pile, is not filling me with joy right now and I’ve only started one of the readings.

I continued to work on the journalling for the wellbeing course (thing 3) and am finding the overlaps between this and some of my personal development work from the previous uni module really useful. Some of it also links to the Indistractable work.

20200430 Tree at Taroona beach 4

Same tree as last week, slightly different light

I’ve been reading in bed every night (thing 14). I never used to like to read in bed so I didn’t think this was a good time to do it but now I’m going to bed earlier than I used to, I’m not quite as tired and reading puts me more in the mood to sleep than before, when I’d just crash as soon as I got into bed.

Sunday was my allocated day for doing my monthly review of my Unravel Your Year workbook (thing 22). Sitting at home in my room with a takeaway coffee isn’t quite the same as sitting in my local coffee shop first thing in the morning, but these are the times I’m living in and I’m glad the coffee shop is close enough for me to be able to do this. It was still nice to reflect on what I learned last month and to clarify what I want to focus on this month. Now I just have to get myself to work on that uni assignment!

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 8 (1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 6 (3, 7, 8, 14, 17, 22)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 2 (11, 13)
  • Things not started: 6 (2, 9, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit this week: 7
  • Days I read a book: 7

20 for 2020: week 17

Week 17: week of 20 April

My 20 for 2020 list.

This was another slow week for my 20 for 2020 list. There are some things I won’t be able to do while we are in death virus lockdown, such as getting my sewing machine fixed (thing 2) and going to a fermenting class (thing 19). The Bored and Brilliant challenge (thing 12) really needs me to be home alone so that’s going to have to wait too.

I reviewed the wellbeing classes (thing 3) I want to complete from 2019 on Sunday and started to work on some of the journalling exercises. I’ve also been maintaining my nightly reading habit (thing 14).

20200426 How to love Brutalism

This week’s reading

My uni course (thing 8) starts again on Monday, so that’s going to get resurrected very soon. I have no real excuse for not doing the work on Indistractable (thing 13) other than I just haven’t made time for it in my schedule. I’ve been working on editing some photos for another project now that I’ve completed my first project (thing 1) and that’s been taking up a lot of my time outside of work. Time I probably won’t have when uni starts up again, so I’ve been making the most of it.

This week was my first full week working outside of the office and I have to say I’m really getting used to this. I used to think that it was my job that was making me miserable and stressed but working in this different way has made me question whether it’s actually the job. I realised that when I go to work, my whole day revolves around work: either getting ready for work, getting to work, being at work, getting home from work or unwinding from work. With all of that in play, it wasn’t uncommon for work-related activities to take up 11 or 12 hours of my day. Add in seven hours for sleeping and a couple of hours for house and family stuff, there wasn’t a lot of time left over, and I never really felt like doing much in the afternoon/evening even if I did have some time because I was worn out after a day at work.

20200420 Abandoned Wrest Point 11

Wrest Point from a bus stop after a late appointment on Monday night

Fast forward to now where the amount of time I need to prepare for and recover from work has reduced. I get ready for work more quickly, I don’t need to travel to work and I finish work at either 2.30 or 3.30 because, not needing to travel, I can start at 8.00. Whereas in the old world, I’d not be home before 4.00 and sometimes closer to 6.00, and the last thing I’d feel like doing is going for a walk, now I finish work and I head out for a walk in the afternoon light to clear my head and close the door on work for the day. It really re-energises me and I actually feel like working on my own projects for a few hours when I get back.

20200424 Tree in Jenkins St 2

Beautiful afternoon light

Not only did my whole day revolve around work, the environment was not good for me. I was always uncomfortable and anxious in an open plan office designed for maximum occupancy than maximum productivity. Maybe some people like it; maybe some people do the sort of work that is suited to that kinds of environment. I don’t and my work isn’t. Away from that space, I feel calmer and more relaxed, even though the work has ramped up quite a lot because of the death virus.

The combination of not being in that environment and having more time away from work has meant that I am feeling more comfortable than I can ever remember feeling. I haven’t been getting headaches or a sore neck, even though I haven’t been doing my physio exercises (sorry, Tom), I’m sleeping better and I haven’t been running out of rooms in tears because I can’t take it any more. I delete the emails I get that tell me that I’m probably experiencing something between mild anxiety and full-blown panic right now. No, that’s how I felt before this happened. While I would never say I love my work, it seems clear that wasn’t the actual job that was making me unhappy; it was how I had to do it.

20200423 Tree at Taroona Beach 2

More beautiful afternoon light

Of course, as I said last week, I am so very lucky to be in a position where I still have a job and can do it at home, when so many don’t and can’t. Many people are on that spectrum between mild anxiety and full-blown panic. Unlike others, I don’t have to put myself in situations where I might be exposed to the death virus and nobody I know has contracted it. The circumstances that have made this way of working possible are not something I would ever wish to happen. I also recognise that things could change for me in a heartbeat, any day. But this is the situation that we’re in, and I can’t change it. I can only make the best of it and I’m grateful that I’m able to do that right now, in this moment.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 8 (1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (3, 14)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 6 (7, 8, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 6  (2, 9, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 7
  • Days I read a book: 7

20 for 2020: week 16

Week of 13 April

My 20 for 2020 list.

20200418 Hinsby Beach 51

Saturday walk

This week was not one for a lot of progress on my 20 things. The only thing I did was reading (thing 14). I finished The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman, which is the second in his Book of Dust series that follows on from the His Dark Materials trilogy. Books, and a world, that I love and I can’t wait for the final installment.

20200419 The Secret Commonwealth

Captivating read

I spent some time watching Photoshop videos but they weren’t from the course I actually am intending to complete (thing 7). Not to worry, they were useful and I learned a lot of tips.

I had a couple of nice days off for easter and then it was back to work: two days at home and one in the office. This year, I cut back on my bus travel a bit when I started riding my bike to work (thing 10) but the weather wasn’t so good on Thursday so I caught the bus. Here’s what I wrote afterwards.

20200416 Morning bus 3

Two buses waiting at the bus stop

This is a bus that I catch when I miss the earlier one that I prefer. It’s often a bit late and is always crowded and noisy, especially with the school girls singing up the back.

Since we’ve been required to stay at home, it’s been nothing like that.

First, they made bus travel free to give people time to get a greencard so they could pay their fares without cash. They cordoned off the front-most seats of the bus so no one could sit close to the driver.

Then they extended the free travel and made everyone get on the bus through the back door (to the delight of schoolboy humourists everywhere). The whole front section of the bus is out of bounds now.

These days, the buses are practically empty. They’re quiet and no one’s talking, let alone singing. The people who do get on sit as far away from the other passengers as they can get. The buses are early now, something I have only very rarely had to deal with on this route and am still not used to. Fortunately, the drivers are pretty good when it comes to spotting people who haven’t quite made it to the stop on time.

Before, when the buses were usually running late, they’d only stop at the “does not depart before” stop if someone was waiting, but now there’s no one waiting and they sit there for what seems like ages, often with the bus going the other way sitting at the stop on the other side of the road.

I took this photo out of the window from the back seat of an almost deserted bus waiting at the bus stop to remind myself was bus travel was like in April 2020.

I think it’s important to document my experience of this pandemic in the small ways like this, where something that is a very minor part of my day has changed so dramatically. What’s happening is something none of us have ever seen or lived through before and hopefully never will again. My experience will be different to anyone else’s experience, for a whole range of reasons: my life is different to anyone else’s, my circumstances, my personality, my job, my responsibilities and the effect this is having on people around me are all different, to name just a few. What I document will be different to what anyone else documents because I will live through this from my own perspective and my own filters, and the things I notice will be different to the things other people notice.

20200414 Everything is going to be okay 3

A sign on the fence st the park

While I’d prefer the world not to be shut down because of a global pandemic and I’d rather people weren’t getting sick and dying and that my friends weren’t out of work, there is nothing I can do about it. It is the world I’m living in right now. All I can do is observe, document what I see, treasure the fact that I am alive and well, and stay healthy, stay connected to the people close to me and stay at home.

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 8 (1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 1 (14)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 7 (3, 7, 8, 11, 13, 17, 22)
  • Things not started: 6  (2, 9, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 7
  • Days I read a book:  7

20 for 2020: week 15

Week 15: Week of 6 April

My 20 for 2020 list.

I’ve lost count of the number of weeks since we have been in the world of covid-19, where no one is supposed to go out unless they are going to work or school, getting essential supplies or medical treatment, or exercising. People aren’t allowed to gather in groups of more than two unless they are family who live together, shops are closed and streets are a lot more empty than usual. I’ve been in this kind of transition state, where I would prefer to be working from home but haven’t had the technology to do so every day and have needed to keep going to my office two or three days a week. The one day in, one day out has been making me feel quite unsettled, like I’m not really in one place or the other, though I have also been grateful for the change of scenery and the chance to ride my bike on roads that are a lot quieter than normal.

20200406 Centrepoint 1230pm

Centrepoint, Monday 12.30pm

(When I said I wanted to practise riding to work when there were fewer cars around, I didn’t mean I wanted there to be a pandemic that shut the world down and stopped most people going to work. A few rides on weekends and leaving for work earlier would have been quite sufficient, really.)

20200408 Wellington Court

Wellington Court

Anyway, I got the technology update on my laptop that means I can work at home most of the time from now on, so my trips into town for work are going to be a lot less frequent. I think this will help me to feel a bit more settled working from home and to get into more of a routine. Now that I can use my work laptop at home, I’ve set it up on a different desk from my normal computer so I’m hoping that will keep me away from the distractions that my Mac likes to offer up when I’m trying to work.

20200408 Stay home at Easter message from the govenrment

Easter message from the government

I’m also going to start putting into practices some of the things I’ve been learning from Indistractible (thing 13) to try and stay as productive as possible in what is turning out to be a very unusual year.

I got the first set of course material for the next unit of my uni course (thing 8) this week. This is a unit called “Managing Outwards in a Networked Government” and I’m sure they weren’t thinking of remote networks and everyone working from home because of a global pandemic when they came up with that title. It’s going to be interesting to see how this unit goes in the current climate, when the way government does business could change dramatically over the next six months.

I still haven’t sorted out what I want to focus on this month from my monthly review (thing 22) and I’ve been making lists and mind maps and trying to make things link together . . . everything except making a start on anything. I feel like I need to do everything and that I am frittering my days away on make-work rather than actual work. I think I’m falling into the trap of trying to have everything planned out, when I don’t need to. I just need to know the next thing I need to do. And I’m also falling into the trap of feeling like I have to use the extra time I have at home, which isn’t really that much more than normal because I don’t go out much anyway, to do something and learn something and be useful, when what I really need to do is take the opportunity to look after myself, to rest and to not get sick.

At the same time though, there are things I want to be doing and that I can do. My world hasn’t turned so far upside down yet that I can absolve myself of all responsibilities. I have a little time to be doing things I want to do. Striking a balance between being and doing will be important in the coming weeks.

I continued to work on my photo project (thing 1) for 15 minutes every morning. On Friday, which was a public holiday, I decided I wanted to finish it once and for all. I had a few little things to tidy up that I thought would take maybe a couple of hours.

Ha.

I kept finding little things that weren’t quite right or that I had overlooked. Then I came up with a new idea to include that meant I had to edit some more photos. And then I found that the format of the quotation marks was different in some captions to others . . . By the end of the day, there was only one thing left that was bugging me and I didn’t know how to fix it, so I left it.

20200412 Hinsby Beach 08

Leave it, go out for a walk

I did some more work with it on Saturday but it was late at night by the time I finished. I thought I was ready to have it printed but I decided to have one last look in the morning when I wasn’t as tired and I’m glad I did because there was a huge typo in there! Then when I got to preview the ready-to-print product I decided I didn’t like how some of the pictures looked, so I went back to change them. But I finally said enough was enough and uploaded it and sent it to print.

Done is done. Perfectionism, begone!

I watched a video on how to set up my graphics tablet (thing 17). I imagine that is going to take a bit of getting used to, to use a pen instead of a mouse. One suggestion was to use it exclusively instead of the mouse until you get used to it, which makes sense, but picking it up and putting it down all the time sounds like it would be a bit annoying. But I guess the more I use it, the easier it will be.

20200412 Setting up the tablet

Let’s find out how this works

I also did some work on my dodgy home studio (thing 11), which involve attempting to get wrinkles out of the backdrops, which wasn’t successful. I’ve googled some other ideas to try for that.

20200412 Scoby hotel edit

Sunday kombucha brewing

Bedtime reading (thing 14) seems to have become a thing for me. I didn’t like it before but I seem to have got more used to it now and am quite enjoying it. I guess it’s become part of that evening routine that I’m struggling to develop.

20200412 Light on Eastern Shore 2-Edit-Edit

Sunday afternoon

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: 1 (1)
  • Things completed to date: 8 (1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 4 (8, 11, 14, 17)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 4 (3, 7, 13, 22)
  • Things not started: 6 (2, 9, 12, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit: 7
  • Days I read a book for at least 15 minutes: 7

20 for 2020: week 14

Week of 30 March

My 20 for 2020 list.

Things continue to change in the world at a rapid rate as the covid pandemic wreaks havoc across the world. More and more people from my work are working at home as we are told to stay at home unless we absolutely have to go out for work, to get food or medical supplies or to exercise (alone or with no more than one other person). People are joking that the world of social distancing and staying home is something introverts have been doing for years, and I can relate to that.

20200401 Bus Mall 1001am

Deserted bus mall being cleaned. The construction work is still going on.

Adding a couple more days to my working from home routine is a welcome relief from the noisy open-plan office (which is remarkably not noisy now, because most people aren’t coming in any more). And the weird thing about that is, I have endured the noise for over two years and now it’s so quiet, it’s unnerving because it’s not supposed to be so quiet. And that makes it hard to concentrate. As opposed to weekends when I’ve gone in to study with no one there and been super-productive because on a weekend it’s meant to be like that. It gives me a real sense of unease to be in there at the moment and I’ll be relieved when I don’t need to go in there any more.

20200330 Macquarie & Harrington St 904am 2

Macquarie Street, Monday 30 March 2020, 9.04 am

However, working from home while there are other people there doing the same thing has its own challenges. It seems to make a big difference, just having other people in the house, to how it feels to be there.

20200330 Stay at home

Front page of the Mercury, Monday 30 March 2020

All very small problems compared to the scale of this issue and the chaos, fear and tragedy it’s causing across the world and I’m sure I will find ways to deal with it. I’m grateful that I still have my job and that my workplace is still a safe place to be.

While the schools were still open this week, they asked us to not send our kids if we were able to supervise their learning at home. With at least one parent at home every day, we were in a position to do that. Kramstable has been working on the material set up by his teachers this week, and I’ve been impressed by his ability to make himself a schedule, that includes breaks, and stick to it each day. School holidays will start a week early to give the schools more time to put learning resources online for next term. The school has been great with its communication and I am really impressed with the work everyone is doing to make this as minimally disruptive to the kids as possible. We’re in for an interesting time over the next few months adapting to new ways of learning.

20200331 Frilly pants edit

I can’t ride to work in these pants but they are brilliant house pants

I am trying to hold myself to as much of a routine as I can in this strange world, which means going on my non-negotiable walk every morning at 5.30 (or thereabouts), doing my 15 minutes of creative work, getting dressed, eating breakfast and having movement breaks during the day whether I’m working at home or in the office. I’ve started to add a morning mindfulness activity into the mix to try and keep myself more grounded but I think I might need to work this in a couple of other times during the day.

I’m rolling with my 20 things as best as I can. One of the big ones was completing 30 days alcohol free on Tuesday (thing 5). I did this in March last year for 19 for 2019 and went straight back to drinking almost as soon as I’d finished. I struggled with maintaining drinking in moderate amounts, in not drinking on weeknights, in not drinking late at night . . . and the result was I was feeling really down on myself for not being able to control myself better. I couldn’t understand why I could easily go without a drink for a month but then rarely go one night after that.

This time I did my 30 days in conjunction with the book The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace, which offers you new ways to think about alcohol, why you drink and whether alcohol is really giving you what you want.

20200402 The Alcohol Experiment

The Alcohol Experiment

I was reluctant to try this experiment because I was worried that the result might be I would never want to drink again and (at least I thought) I rather enjoyed drinking. I won’t say too much other than it has completely changed the way I think about alcohol and made me realise that I don’t really want to drink at all right now. Never is a long time, and Annie cautions against committing to never drink again for the rest of your life, so I won’t say I never want to drink again. But right now, especially right now when the temptation might be to drown out the fear and anxiety about what’s happening in the world with alcohol, I don’t want to drink.

The good thing about this book is it asks you to consider what you want to do after the 30 days, not just run you through the 30 days and leave you on your own, which I was when I did my alcohol-free month last year. Being more mindful and informed this year, I think I have a much better chance of not getting back onto that slippery slope that I fell onto last year. For now, I have made the decision not to drink.

20200402 St Davids Park 2

Autumn hasn’t been cancelled

I have been working on my photo project (thing 1) and I’m now into the tidying up stage of it. I’ve been reading before I go to sleep (thing 14), which is not my favourite time to read, but it’s the only time that’s working for me at the moment.

20200401 Walking

Reading about walking

I did a bit more work on my monthly review (thing 22) to try and work out my goals for April. I got a bit lost last week when I did it and am still not sure what I’m tying to do. I feel very unsettled and ungrounded at the moment but I think that’s probably a very common reaction to what’s going on in the world around me, and the fact that the world as I know it is very different to the world I was in this time last month.

20200405 Sunrise Taroona Beach

Walking alone is still allowed

Summary for the week

  • Things completed this week: #5
  • Things completed to date: 7 (4, 5, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 3 (1, 14, 22)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 5 (3, 7, 8, 11, 13)
  • Things not started: 7 (2, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 21)
  • Days I stuck to my 15 minutes creative habit this week: 7
  • Days I read a book for at least 15 minutes:  7